Children are born with the innate sense of compassion and empathy, so kids would seem to be a natural fit for charity work. But doing something for the benefit of the greater good is not the only reason why parents are having their children contribute to society. Creator of Zela Wela kids books Nancy Phillips said that “it’s actually been proven scientifically that giving increases self-esteem and self-confidence.” So not only are you turning your little ones into do-gooders, but you’re also maximizing both social impact and inner happiness through the simple act of giving.
Donating to a charitable cause, whether it is through monetary contributions or volunteering opportunities, develops a natural sense of accomplishment for both adults and children alike. A child’s self-confidence can improve with an act as small as handing a slice of pizza to a homeless man, or as big as sponsoring an orphan living in a war zone. It's the gesture of generosity and selflessness that creates a better image for themselves.
Other than leading them to a lifelong commitment to charity, encouraging kids at a young age to participate in fundraisers and such can play a huge role combating depression during and even beyond adolescent years. Studies show that the key risk factor in this illness is social isolation. Regular contact with others will enable your children to develop a reliable support system outside of the family, in turn protecting them against stress. Research also demonstrates that working with animals in pet adoption centers and shelters can improve mood and reduce anxiety.
You want the best for your children and to feel better about themselves, thus opening their eyes to a world where other kids and adults need their help will give them a better idea of identity and pride. With increased self-esteem from volunteering comes a positive outlook on their life and a brighter future, for both your kids and society.
Jennifer Channing is a freelance writer and a single mother. She's also a volunteer teacher for a community school within their neighborhood. During her spare time, she knits clothes and makes costumes for kids. She also loves to sketch with her little girl and lets her paint the walls of their mini garden.